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Yorgos Lanthimos in Talks to Direct Gothic Western 'The Hawkline Monster' (Exclusive)

Hal Ashby and Tim Burton previously took runs at trying to mount an adaptation of the novel by Richard Brautigan.
Yorgos Lanthimos   |   LOIC VENANCE/AFP via Getty Images
Hal Ashby and Tim Burton previously took runs at trying to mount an adaptation of the novel by Richard Brautigan.

Yorgos Lanthimos, the filmmaker behind the acclaimed period drama The Favourite, is in negotiations to direct New Regency’s adaptation of the novel The Hawkline Monster. 

Roy Lee, one of the producers behind the horror hit It; Andrew Trapani (Winchester); and Steven Schneider, who last worked on Glass and Pet Sematary, are producing the Gothic Western pic. Lanthimos will also produce with Ed Guiney and Andrew Lowe of Element Pictures, the shingle behind Lanthimos' films The Killing of a Sacred Deer and The Lobster.

The move kicks the decades-in-the-making project into a higher gear after Regency picked it up in June when it made a deal with the estates of both the author, Richard Brautigan, and filmmaker Hal Ashby (Being There).

Ashby spent over a decade trying to mount Hawkline Monster in the 1970s and 1980s but sparred with Brautigan over the script, even as he had Jack Nicholson and Dustin Hoffman, and later Jeff and Beau Bridges, on board for the two-hander.

The book, first published in 1974, tells of two unlikely hero gunslingers hired by a 15-year-old girl named Magic Child to kill the monster that lives in ice caves under the basement of a house inhabited by a young woman named Miss Hawkline. What follows is a unique adventure where there is more to Magic Child, Miss Hawkline and the house than meets the eye.

After Ashby died in 1988, Tim Burton also tried to tackle the adaptation, this time for Clint Eastwood and Jack Nicholson, but that, too, got lost along the project’s long trail. If anything, it does show the project continues to attract top directing and acting talent.

Lanthimos continues that lineage and is also a director who draws acclaimed actors into his efforts. The Favourite starred Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone, and earned Lanthimos a best director Oscar nomination as well as one for best picture. (The movie itself was nominated for 10 Oscars and won one.) The Killing of a Sacred Deer starred Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman.

(And with Hawkline Monster being unearthed anew by Hollywood, Brautigan's other novels are now being looked at as well.)

Ianthe Brautigan and Paul Swensen will executive produce the pic. Natalie Lehmann will oversee for New Regency.

Lanthimos is repped by CAA, Ilene Feldman Management and U.K.'s Sayle Screen.

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